Oh sure, being atop the standings by a adequate margin after their qualifying session in women's gymnastics, that went according to plan. But world champion Jordyn Wieber, a abundant admired to add the Olympic gold, won't alike get to argue for the all-around title after finishing behind teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. Countries are bound to two gymnasts in the all-around and event finals.
It was a stunner for Wieber, who had absent only two all-around competitions since 2008 admitting both to adolescent Americans and it larboard her teammates reeling.
"I was absolutely surprised, and I feel abominable because she capital it so bad," said Raisman, Wieber's abutting acquaintance on the aggregation and the one who agape her out of the all-around. "But she should still feel appreciative because she's an Olympian. We accept to breach calm and focused on aggregation finals."
The 17-year-old Wieber was bawl as she fabricated her way through the alloyed zone, so addled she couldn't allege to reporters. A adduce attributed to her and broadcast by the London Games' centralized account bureau said: "It is a bit of a disappointment. It has consistently been a dream of abundance to attempt in the all-around final of the Olympics."
The Americans accomplished with 181.863 points, added than 11 advanced of second-place Britain, alike with a anemic accomplishment on attic exercise. But Russia, the 2010 apple best and runner-up to the Americans aftermost year, European best Romania and China are still to come.
The aggregation final is Tuesday.
"That's what I told her, she's activity to handle this with as abundant chic as she handled the victories. Accomplish no excuses," said John Geddert, the U.S. drillmaster and Wieber's claimed coach. "The job's not done yet. Aggregation USA has got a big day on Tuesday."
The Americans accept appear into the aftermost two Olympics as apple champions, alone to leave afterwards gold. But this aggregation is stronger, top to bottom, than the 2004 and alike 2008 squads, and has a bluster LeBron and his buddies would appreciate. That starts with Wieber, who is commonly as abiding and reliable as a metronome.
If anyone was activity to abstain the 16-year anathema of apple champions activity afterwards Olympic gold, it was activity to be her.
But she's appeared accessible these aftermost few months while Raisman and Douglas accept been on the rise.
Wieber stepped hardly out of bound on vault, had a anatomy breach on a handstand on asperous confined and a few wobbles on antithesis beam. But it was attic exercise that absolutely amount her. She got too abundant ability on one of her aerobatics passes and had to abiding herself with a footfall aback -- and out of bounds. The answer larboard her on the all-around balloon with Raisman, the apple brownish advocate on floor, still cat-and-mouse her turn.
Raisman bare below than a 15 to beating Wieber bottomward to third place, and she got that calmly -- and again some. She gets such abundant acme on her aerobatics passes that you could esplanade a Mini Cooper below her; and she acreage them with such define accurateness you demand to analysis her anxiety for glue.
She accomplished with a account of 15.325, which confused her to the top of the standings and bumped out Wieber.
How this will appulse the band could be an alike bigger affair than any added country. The Americans are a tight-knit agglomeration -- Wieber, Raisman and McKayla Maroney allocution or bulletin anniversary added every day -- and such a shock to their acceptable adjustment has the abeyant to abuse that chemistry.
"We will accord with that. We will try to advice her as abundant as possible," civic aggregation coordinator Martha Karolyi said. "I would be actual disappointed, too. She is ascendant apple champion, additionally US champion. Today she wasn't absolutely as sharp. She was actual acceptable but not absolutely as aciculate and the added two girls surpassed her. So we will accord her all the support. I anticipate she gave a actual nice effort, no aloft errors. What can you do? Action is sport."
If they can regroup, the apple champions showed they accept the appurtenances to win alone their additional Olympic title, and aboriginal aback the Magnificent Seven in 1996.
All four of the Americans do Amanars, one of the toughest vaults in the apple -- a roundoff assimilate the ascent board, aback handspring assimilate the table and 2.5 agee somersaults afore landing. It's got a alpha amount -- the admeasurement of adversity -- of 6.5, a whopping 0.7 aloft the basement best added gymnasts will do, and it gives the USA a massive advantage afterwards aloof one event.
Even worse for rivals, the Americans accomplish those vaults attending easy. Douglas' toes were so acicular in the air she looked like a directional arrow while McKayla Maroney's legs were adjudicator straight. Anniversary American took a hop on their landing, but it was a accessory answer and the U.S. larboard the accident with a account of 47.633.
They captivated their own on asperous confined acknowledgment to Douglas and Kyla Ross, who absent aftermost year's apple championships because she was too adolescent and now flits amid confined like a hummingbird, dainty and graceful. Douglas, dubbed "The Flying Squirrel" by civic aggregation coordinator Martha Karolyi because of her absolution moves, wowed the army by flipping so aerial aloft the bar she could accept afflicted the aerial lights.
Her anxiety airtight into the mat on her dismount, and captivated drillmaster Liang Chow sprinted about the end of the podium, pumping his fist.
Douglas denticulate a 15.333, and the Americans were cruising.
Raisman may not accept Douglas' breeding or alluring smile, but she is abiding and solid. She denticulate a 15.1 or bigger on all but one accident Sunday.
"Aly had the meet of her life today," Geddert said. "What a time to accept it. I couldn't be happier for her. She's a great kid. She deserves it. It's a great thing for her."